City Slowed, Not Stopped by Lame Duck Status

Council Chambers are expected to stay empty until after Oct. 27 due to the "lame duck" designation. All regularly scheduled council meetings have been cancelled until that time. ( Photo by // Dan Gray - The Lance News Intern)

by Dan Gray
The Lance – News Intern

Windsor city councillors say the city will not suffer after council was designated a “lame duck” on Sept. 12.

According to the Ontario Municipal Act, a city council with less than 75 per cent of councillors returning becomes limited in what it can do. Drew Dilkens, Ron Jones, Fulvio Valentinis and Alan Halberstadt will not be returning to represent their current wards after the upcoming elections, putting Windsor in this unique position.

Council is affected by the act in three ways. Two “lame duck” restrictions relate to the hiring and termination of any town official or employee. The other, which often hampers many councils, is the restriction on expenditures. The city is not allowed to dispose of any of its real or personal property with a value exceeding $50,000 or to spend more than $50,000, according to the act.

Al Maghnieh, councillor for ward ten, said although council is restricted, he believes it’s not going to hinder on the city.

“Nothing special during this time of the year, just normal council meetings,” said Meghnieh. “Usually, memos start going out in early October reminding department heads to prepare for budget … Everything we needed to get done that was time sensitive is done, it’s kind of a little bit of downtime for now.”

Maghnieh expects the next council meeting will be after the election to ratify the results.

Jo-Anne Gignac, a city councillor since 2003, sits on many different boards and commissions in the city and says they are not affected by council’s current “lame duck” status. She said a motion was passed to cancel the scheduled general council meetings.

“What we did do was delegate authority to the chief administrative officer to continue with the discussions that were underway; so, in terms of finalizing tenders of capital projects, council did move forward and delegate signing authority to Helga Reidel,” said Gignac.  “So really the business that would normally be done during this period will continue in terms of the projects that were identified and already included in the 2014 budget.”

The lame duck council designation for the City of Windsor will be lifted on Dec. 1 when the new council officially takes over.

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